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Icaros – Magical Songs from Peru

September 22, 2009



Icaros – Magical Songs from Peru takes us on a journey deep into the
heart of the Amazonian rainforest, travelling with Liz Thompson and
Simon Green to meet shamanic healers or ‘curanderos’ as they generously
share their ‘icaros’ or magical songs.

Icaros have been used for millennia to cure and to curse, to hunt and to
heal, to mediate between the world of the spirits and the world of

They are sung to this day for a multitude of purposes, and often in
ceremony, to call in protective spirits, cure illness, activate the
healing properties of medicinal plants, attract lovers, call spirits of
the dead and alter the weather or, on occasion, for the more malicious
purpose of brujeria (sorcery). Curandero Don Juan tells of icaros used
to heal babies within the field of shamanic pediatrics. ‘There are’ he
says, ‘pediatric icaros, surgical icaros, dental icaros …. all icaros
have a specific healing function or purpose. In the same way that
allopathic medicine is specialised, so too is the science of icaros’.

The songs might be taught by an elder ‘shaman’, but most often they come
to the curandero from the spirit realm. Shamanic cosmology is grounded
in a belief that plants have consciousness and particular knowledge they
are able to communicate. ‘I work with the vibration of the icaro ,
vibrate the sounds, that’s where the energy is , it’s in the vibration’,
says Mestizo curandero Don Lucho, ‘When I’m in a trance, when I’m with
the plant in trance, then I have this energy, this power, which is an
exchange of energies between myself and the plant’.

Whilst many icaros come from the plants, curanderos tell of songs
received from mermaids and dolphins, from the rain mother, the animals,
the snakes, the rivers and stars, in dreams or the waking state. These
remarkable melodies have been woven into a compelling soundscape, an
aural journey into the realms inhabited by the practitioners of this
ancient art.

Thanks go to Justin Touyz, Carlos Tanner and all the curanderos who
shared their songs and knowledge for the creation of this program.

Featuring curanderos Luis Culquiton, Guillermo Arevalo, Juan Tangoa
Paima and Doña Otilia.

Readers: Marcelo Ovington, Patricio Rodriguez, Matias James Stevens and
Lucia Mastrantone.

Translations by Justin Touyz.

Texts by Stephan Bayer from his blog.

Written, narrated and produced by Liz Thompson and Simon Green.

Sound engineer:     Judy Rapley.
Executive Producer: Robyn Ravlich.

‘Otilia’ video: Dona Otilia blesses Ayahausca with the smoke of Tobacco
prior to ceremony, and explains the nature of the icaro for opening a

[Duration: 5’56” 29MB]

‘Lucho’ video: Don Lucho concentrates deeply to bring forth an icaro to
call the spirits of the earth, the plants and the sky.

[Duration: 4’50” 23MB]

Further Information:

Simon Green –

Juan Tangoa Paima –

Guillermo Arevalo –

Luis Culquiton –


Psychedelic Tea Brews Unease Santa Fe Residents Fight Church’s Planned Site, Say Drink Endangers Public Safety

September 19, 2009


SANTA FE, N.M. — A secretive religious group that fought a long legal battle for the right to drink hallucinogenic tea in pursuit of spiritual growth now plans to build a temple and greenhouse in a wealthy community here — to the dismay of local residents.

[Tea leaves] Magali Girardin / pixsil.comA woman in Brazil picks one of the two plants used to make the potent tea.

The church was founded in Brazil in 1961 and remains most popular there, but about 150 people in the U.S., including about 60 in Santa Fe, practice the faith, which goes by the Portuguese name Centro Espírita Beneficente União do Vegetal, or UDV. Members say the church is based on Christian theology but also borrows from other faiths and finds spirituality in nature.

Since the U.S. branch of the religion emerged in the late 1980s, practitioners have imported from Brazil their sacramental tea, known as hoasca, which is brewed from two Amazonian plants and contains the psychedelic compound dimethyltryptamine, or DMT. The U.S. government classifies DMT as a Schedule I controlled substance, the same designation given to heroin and marijuana. But in a unanimous ruling in 2006, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the UDV had the right to use hoasca in its ceremonies.

Now, the Santa Fe branch has drawn up plans to build a greenhouse for growing their own sacred plants, a ceremonial kitchen for brewing the tea and a 7,100-square-foot temple, complete with a children’s nursery and foot-thick walls to ensure privacy.

full story here.

US Government to Appeal Oregon Daime Ruling

September 15, 2009

By Matthew Meyer

(*) Special to

On August 21st, 2009, the Department of Justice formally notified the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit that it would appeal Judge Owen M. Panner’s March 18 ruling granting a permanent injunction to the Ashland, Oregon-based Church of the Holy Light of the Queen to import and use Daime tea (ayahuasca) in its religious rituals.

The government had already asked Judge Panner, following the decision, to amend it, arguing that the exemptions to the Controlled Substances Act that Panner set forth “swept too broadly, mistakenly enjoining the enforcement of numerous regulations that were not challenged in the Complaint and that have not been held to pose any burden on Plaintiffs’ exercise of religion.”

The government’s position in this case has lately resembled the stance it has taken in the O Centro case involving the União do Vegetal, where the government, having apparently lost the substantial points about the dangers ayahuasca use by the UDV might pose to its members and to society, has resorted to stonewalling by refusing to agree to a permanent, workable arrangement in negotiations with the UDV outside the court. Instead, the government has argued that the UDV must prove the same case for each and every DEA regulation that places an unreasonable burden on its religious practice. (These regulations include keeping track of the precise dose of the controlled substance—which is this case would be small amounts of DMT in the ayahuasca—given to each individual.)

A blanket or wide-sweeping exception to the CSA, the government told Panner, would mean that “the DEA’s ability to enforce the [Controlled Substances Act] through the closed regulatory system…would be seriously inhibited.”

full story @

Aya Podcasts by Rak Razam

August 29, 2009


Aya: A Neo-Tek Shamanic Peformance

August 29, 2009


Book launch of Aya: A Shamanic Odyssey,
and lecture on the global ayahuasca
movement, with vibro-acoustic afterparty
featuring nu wave tekno-occult DJ/VJs
invoking the higher frequencies

As one world song ends and another begins… join us for a unique blend of Low Frequency and Phi Ration tunings to activate the collective consciousness. A night of tekno-shamanism that unites the binaries: South American cosmovision with neo-Atlantean sonic wizardry.

Razam is roadtesting a whole new way to do book launches – as performance art, reading/invoking ten set excerpts from the book that recreate the shamanic journey, mixed with Tim Parish’s stunning visual psybernautica and real photos from the odyssey, as well as and DJButton’s aural soundscapes that blend in authentic shamanic Icaros or magic songs…. The idea is to invoke a ritual environment and cast a spell onto the world… and the neo-atlantean sound healers that follow are all geared up to similarily push the boundaries with EEG feedback readings and vibro-acoustic healing that continues the spell…

To listen to the podcast click here:

AYA: A Shamanic Odyssey – book launch in Los Angeles Wed July 8

June 26, 2009


‘Aya: A Shamanic Odyssey’ Book Release and Presentation
Project Butterfly welcomes Rak Razam to Los Angeles for the launch of his new book, ‘Aya: a Shamanic Odyssey’
Project Butterfly
Education – Lecture
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
7:30pm – 10:30pm
Project Butterfly Loft
821 Traction Ave #108
Los Angeles, CA

Project Butterfly welcomes Rak Razam to Los Angeles for the launch of his new book, ‘Aya: a Shamanic Odyssey’ [].

‘Aya: a Shamanic Odyssey’ is part journalistic account, part adventure-memoir of Rak’s travels in South America and the world of Amazonian shamanism.

What is Amazonian shamanism and why is it important to the world today, as we stand on the brink of environmental change and global transformation? Traveling on a magazine assignment to Peru, “experiential journalist” Rak Razam sets out to discover the answers. He joins a growing movement of Western tourists coming for the legal experience of ayahuasca – the “vine of souls” – a South American hallucinogenic plant that is said to heal, and connect to the divine.

In researching the mystery of ayahuasca, Razam undergoes his own shamanic initiation, undergoing numerous tests and trials in the jungle and the psychic landscapes the vine reveals. On the way he encounters a motley crew of characters from rogue scientists that conduct DMT-brain scans on jungle psychonauts; brujo-black magicians wielding their psychic darts; and dozens of indigenous and Western shamans that slowly unravel his cultured mind and reveal the magical landscape of the spirit world.

The evening will cover the booming international business of Amazonian Shamanism and the culture shock between the old world and the new. The difficulties presented given the mix of Amazonian shamanism and Western capitalism. And the ineffable mystery and magic of the ayahuasca experience itself, which cannot be commodified, although the West is certainly trying its best!

This will be a wonderful opportunity to learn more and to engage in dialog about plant medicines, shamanism, community and spiritual evolution. We look forward to sharing a wonderful night with you.

Wed JUL 8 :: 7:30pm

To reserve your space for this event please click on the link below::

Project Butterfly Loft
821 Traction Ave #108
Los Angeles CA 90013

June 26, 2009

When Davi Kopenawa Yanomami leaves home, you know the world is in

Shaman returns to London with warning about future of his people in the
Amazon and people all over the planet

John Vidal, Saturday 13 June 2009 00.06 BST

When Davi Kopenawa Yanomami leaves home you know something’s wrong. He’s
a shaman, or traditional healer, from one of the world’s largest largest
groups of isolated peoples. Home is Watoriki, a village in the northern
Amazon, deep in the forests and mountains near the Brazilian border with

Davi leaves his orca, the great communal house where his village lives
and sleeps, only to fight for his tribe. Twenty years ago, he came to
London to alert the world to the plight of his people and the Brazilian

More than 20,000 goldminers had invaded Yanomami tribal lands and as
well as cutting down forests and poisoning the rivers, they brought
violence and disease. With no immunity, one in five Yanomamai died
within a few years from measles, malaria and other illnesses. Davi’s
uncle was murdered by the goldminers and the tribe faced extinction.

Davi was chosen to leave the village because he spoke Portuguese and had
been in contact with white people, having worked with Funai, the
Brazilian National Indian Foundation. He put on his toucan feathers, and
accompanied by his shamanic spirtits, took boats and walked hundreds of
miles first to Boa Vista and then to Manaus, the capital of Amazonas

The Brazilian politicians did not help, he said, and it was only when he
was invited to Europe and then America in 1989 that the Yanomamai became
an international cause, with rock stars like Sting putting the tribe on
the map.

The international pressure worked. In 1992 the Brazilian government
finally threw out the ranchers and goldminers from Yanomami land and
demarcated an area the size of Portugal for the tribe.

But now Davi is back in London with a terrifying warning about threats
from miners, cattle ranchers and climate change.

“History is repeating itself. Thousands of miners have come back,” he
told the Guardian in London this week. “They are repairing and expanding
the old airstrips. The cattle ranchers are coming in, cutting down the
forest. They are coming with planes and helicopters, guns and machines
and rafts. They bring malaria and destroy the rivers. We are warning the
world that without your help the Yanomami people will die.

“The error of the whites is to take the riches of the land. You only
want to take the riches. But the land is sacred. If the Yanomamai die
the shamans will disappear and the governments will continue to take the
land. You are worried about climate change. It is arriving. The rains
come late, the sun behaves in a strange way. The world is ill. The lungs
of the sky are polluted. We know it is happening.

“We are shamans. We care for the planet, the sun, the moon the darkness
and the light. Everything that exists we look after. You cannnot go on
destroying nature. We will all die, burned and drowned, and that is the
Yanomamai word.”